Sunday saw great devastation in Texas and other southern parts of the country when Hurricane Ike made landfall. Sweeping first through the Caribbean and claiming 80 lives, the category 2 storm proceeded into the Gulf, subdmerging Galveston followed by mainland Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas.
The center of Hurricane Ike slammed into Galveston, Texas at 2 am on September 13th and moved inland across the Galveston-Houston area, knocking out power, water and sewer services, toppling trees, damaging buildings and leaving 31 people dead so far. The Texas Public Utilities Commission estimates that more than 2.4 million customers are without power and the U.S. Energy Department says 400,000 others are without power in Louisiana and Arkansas. Tap water has been declared unsafe to drink in cities such as Houston. In Galveston, winds as high as 110 mph have blocked all forms of communication and have left survivors with no gas or food. As shelters fill up in coastal areas and major cities, the shortage in food and water is making the situation increasingly desperate.
Rescuers claim that 2,000 individuals have been saved, but this is only a small portion of those who are in need of help. Many survivors are left wondering where their next meal will come from and how long they can last without electricity or reconstruction of their lost homes.
A first responder team has been dispersed by Humanity First USA to assess the situation on the ground, and is working to transport blankets, sleeping bags, collapsible cots, and clothing items to the devastated areas as needed. Plans are also being drawn for food distribution, as well as establishing a medical camp to serve the needs of survivors without access to hospitals.
A 2nd and 3rd Humanity First Teams have arrived in the region on the evenings of September 20th and 21st with a focus to serve coastal areas outside of Houston. The additional teams focused on Harris County, Chambers County, and the Seabrook/Clear Lake areas where Humanity First's assessment team has reported extensive damage and ongoing short term needs. Food and supplies valued at more than $2,000 have been delivered to over 200 hurricane survivors.
Humanity First relies on the generous support of its generous donors. Those who wish to assist victims of Hurricane Ike are encouraged to contribute and take part in this rescue mission.
Humanity First, USA, a 501(c) 3- registered charity, is the US chapter of Humanity First International, which was established in the early 1990's to restore disaster-stricken and under-developed and vulnerable communities around the globe. Humanity First USA is a leading non-profit relief organization whose board of directors, management team, and project staff running the day-to-day operations are all unpaid volunteers with diverse professional backgrounds including business, healthcare, and education sectors. All personal expenses are met by the volunteers to maximize the use of funds raised and donated for those in need. As of today Humanity First USA has expanded to 27 countries worldwide.
Humanity First is registered in 43 countries across 6 continents, and has been working on human development projects and responding to disasters since 1994. These have included the earthquakes in Turkey, Pakistan, Japan and Iran, floods in Africa and Latin America, hurricanes (Katrina and Rita) , tornado's (Kansas) and wild fires (California) in the USA, Indonesia and Bangladesh, and conflicts in Eastern Europe.
Since its inception and IRS registration in 2004, Humanity First has been focused on spending most of the raised funds on direct program related expenses. As a result, more than 90% of its funds are in that expense category. This is achieved through dedicated volunteers in its management, and program operation teams.